Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I have a problem with portion control

I like breakfast cereal. A lot. Lately I've gotten into freebies and couponing, so I've had the opportunity to try some new things because they were practically free. One of these is Smart Start cereal. Love it.




So a couple of months ago, from the back of the Smart Start box, I ordered another freebie: a Smart Start cereal bowl. I got it in the mail, and have been enjoying it for some time. Now clearly, the whole premise of Smart Start is supposed to promote healthy eating, am I right? And certainly, this bowl is designed for me to eat Smart Start cereal out of it in the pursuit of a healthy diet, correct? The box says:


One bowl stronger: Every spoonful of lightly sweetened, deliciously toasty
oat bran flakes and crunchy oat clusters is good for the health of your heart.
So get into the Smart Start habit - one tasty bowl after another.

And if you can see in the picture, there's a picture of the bowl (which substitutes for the letter "O" in the word "bowl" - how clever) filled to the brim with Smart Start cereal. So that's what they are suggesting I do. Fill it to the brim and enjoy one bowl after another for a healthy heart!! Great! Let's get started!!


Then I look at the nutritional facts. Let's measure out one serving of Smart Start cereal and place it in the Smart Start cereal bowl. That's one cup of cereal, which, with 1/2 a cup of skim milk, is 230 calories.



And lest you think I am using funny camera angles here...another view:



Wait just a gosh darn minute! Where the rest of my cereal? The other 2/3 of my brimming bowl!? Well, just for fun, let's see how much cereal would be in that bowl. Here's a full bowl, just like the picture.


And here is that same cereal, measured out into a 2-cup measuring cup and 2 1-cup measuring cups.

So that one bowl full - the same bowl that they SENT ME and clearly pictured on the box - is actually three and a half servings of cereal. *sigh* It goes beyond supersizing combo meals - everything, even healthy eating - is out of control portion sizes. Ugh.

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Side notes:

-Today David is 5 months old, and it's the first day of school around here. Where, oh where did the summer go? I truly can't believe it. And FOOTBALL starts this weekend. Wow.

-If I needed any motivation to start potty training, I changed 6 diapers (4 of them poopy) in a 45 minute span yesterday afternoon. And nobody's sick, there was just a lot of...um...movement in our house at the time.

-It's raining today, and I'm loving it. There's such a nice breeze through the house, it sounds quiet and comforting, and it's an excuse not to go out and play. In a few months, I'll be dying for weather that's nice enough to go outside, but today I'm thankful for a day to stay in.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Plain Ol' Good Time



This weekend we had the tremendous opportunity to spend a little QT with our friends from life group. One of the couples has a family lake home about an hour away where we were able to boat, swim, tube, eat, chat, and relax. It was simply put: a really good time. I love these folks and enjoy the time that we spend together. It was also a rare occurrence: since there are 4 little ones in the mix, we put them all to bed and marveled at the fact that we could all sit out on the deck and have food, drink, and good conversation.

A few highlights...

Our hosts...the original Katie and David (and Frank)

What a trendy girl...Miss Emmaline's cover up matched her bathing suit


Adrienne enjoys the view



This guy had a baby and got his MBA in the same summer

This girl had a need for speed - on the boat she kept going, "Faster! Faster!"

Is it just me or does this kid look like her Dad?



They look innocent enough here, but you should see these 2 on water tubes



We all have our crutches


The "older girls" of the group


Our family pod...what a treat! Thanks everybody!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day to Day

(inspired by Erin, who was inspired by swistle)

During the week, my alarm goes off at 6:45. It's set to a country radio station that I typically let play for 5 to, uhhhhh..., 30 minutes. If Brian got up to run that morning, he's stretching and showering, or otherwise he's already showered and downstairs getting his coffee. I eventually get up the nerve to get out of bed (I didn't win the "Worst Morning Person in My Town, Ohio" radio contest for nothin'!), and I jump in the shower and try to get ready before Brian leaves for work. At some point during this routine, the kiddos usually wake up. When Katy wakes up, Brian gets her up and feeds her breakfast. When David wakes up, I nurse him and hand him over to Brian so I can go take my shower. Sometimes one of them doesn't wake up until after Brian leaves for work. He leaves at 7:55 (see what I mean about living close to work?), and I take over kid duty, whether I've managed to dry my hair yet or not.

The next hour is a blur of pouring bowls of cereal, nursing (if I haven't already), diapering, dressing, and brushing hair, etc. This is often in between books, puzzles, and coloring. Sometime around 9:30, I put David down for his first nap. Katy knows that this is the time that she gets to watch a video. She selects it, sits down at her chair, and I do the first round of Things That Need to Be Done. This could be unloading the dishwasher, sweeping, strategizing shopping lists to get the best deals, and checking my work email to see if there's anything that can't wait until naptime. Plus, of course, I'm checking my own email and taking a minute to read blogs as they pop up throughout the day. Thank the Lord for this laptop.

Katy's video ends and I'll do crafts with her or we'll have a snack. When David wakes from his nap (11:00, give or take), it's go time. This is the time of day that I leave the house with the 2 kids in tow. Our activity varies from day to day: maybe I need to go to Target (oh, happy day!), or we have storytime, or a playdate, or we meet Brian for lunch, or we do any number of 100 errands that need to be run. One thing I do NOT do during this time is grocery shop for more than 5 items. I just can't do it right now, not at these ages. I'd rather go at midnight by myself than take the kids. Especially since I'm trying to shop for sales and double coupons and ECB's and healthy foods and AH! I just can't.

We are usually rushing home to keep David from falling asleep in the car and ruining his afternoon nap. Usually we make it home and have lunch by about 1:00 and put him down again. Then Katy and I hang out for a bit and she goes down for nap around 1:30. That's when I race for the laptop, put on my headset, and get to work. On average I probably do about an hour or so of work in the afternoon. Usually by the time I finish, I have time to check my email or pick up toys and then one of the kids wakes up.

The late afternoon is the one-handed hour. David usually insists on being held, and Katy has a lot of demands, all of which I'm trying to fulfill with one hand. Sometimes we play outside, sometimes I have her "help" me with dinner, or sometimes we're folding laundry or doing more crafts.

Brian comes home around 5:30, and although my best intention is to have dinner ready, it doesn't happen very often. Usually I hand the kids over and try to go throw something together, or if we have something going on that evening and we need to move a little faster, we might get take out from somewhere (this happens more often than I'd like). After dinner, we play outside or take a walk, or we might go to a park. Because my sister lives close by and is a student, she might be around for any part of this daily activity. She just molds into it, walking into the house and picking up the baby, getting snacks for Katy and changes stinky diapers. I am blessed to have her close.

If it's a Bath Night, we all head up to the attic (where the only bathtub is located) to do baths around 6:30. David goes to bed immediately afterward, around 6:45, and is usually holding on by a very thin thread by the time I put him down. (And for my own future reference, at this point I am nursing him and laying him down awake in a sleep sack. He goes to sleep on his own, sometimes without any fussing, sometimes with a few minutes of fussing). Katy comes downstairs "all clean" and there's more playing until bedtime - which is 8:00 for her. One of us takes her upstairs, brushes her teeth, tosses her in her crib, says prayers with her, hugs and kisses her and walks out.

Then Brian and I have some time. Sometimes we're camped out in the living room, one with the remote, one with the laptop. Sometimes I go to the grocery and he stays home. Sometimes he goes for a run and I stay home. Sometimes we purposely don't do any of these things so we can have a meaningful conversation as husband and wife. Brian is ready to head to bed by 10pm, but I am never tired at this point. So I am guilty of keeping him up past his bedtime, often until 11ish by the time we get upstairs and in bed. These days I'm also stalling because David will wake up for his first feeding between 10-12, so I like it better if I'm still awake, rather than only having been asleep for 30 minutes. David then wakes up for a 2nd feeding between 3-5am, and I trudge downstairs to nurse him and often fall asleep in the glider holding him. But only for a little bit, and then I put him down and go back to bed.

I have to admit that I'm hesitant to publish this post. As I type it out, I feel like it looks like I have it pretty easy. It doesn't look hard or overwhelming like some routines would. But I feel really busy, I guess it's just life that fills our time. I don't know what it is or how to describe it, but somehow every moment of every day I am doing something. Something that seems critical to me right then. But a month later I won't be able to remember what I was doing or why. I guess if nothing else, I might want to look back at this later and remember what my routine was like at this stage. So here it goes...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

characters

I'm feeling recuperated after this weekend, which is great. Just taking a few moments to appreciate the characters that are my children.

I've been waiting for David to find his thumb like Katy did, which made her a lot better at self-soothing. Well, he has found something to sooth himself, but it seems that instead of his thumb, he likes to tell us how he feels about us while he sucks on his appendages.







Katy colors with her markers all the time. We've told her a few times that you should "only color on the paper." I guess we should've specified that that includes not writing on your face.




My mom came through town this weekend to take my sister out for her birthday. She commented that David is a completely different kid that when she saw him a month ago. It really is true! He's changing so fast.


Katy has very strong opinions lately, and often refuses offers to help her. Today she removed her shirt and would NOT let me help her put it back on. Finally she got to this point and looked at me like, "see? I told you I could do it."

Life is pretty fun when you spend it with characters like these kiddos everyday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute toddler backpack contest

OMG - these are so cute. Learn how to win one here.

The bene's of low expectations

We're back from our trip, and although we were only gone 4 nights, I'm having trouble catching up on things back at the ranch. It's amazing how life piles up when you leave it for awhile, and how difficult it is to catch up when you still have your usual responsibilities of taking care of the little ones.




But our trip went really, really well. It actually could not have gone better, which is what I mean when I say that it pays to have low expectations. Not that I wasn't expecting to have a good time, but I was stressing about sleeping arrangements and traveling, and it was fine. Completely fine. I was pleasantly surprised.




First we stopped in to see a couple of old friends. Mike and Nancy were dear friends of ours during the first few years that I lived in Columbus. Then around the time that we got married, they moved to Kentucky and have proceeded to have 2 children slightly older than ours. So we stopped in to visit them for the first night of our trip, and it was SO great. Our kids had a blast together and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Nancy is one of those friends with whom you can sit and chat and hours go by and you don't notice. Miss her. And just love her.






Then we headed on down the road to Brian's folks'. Within 5 minutes, Katy had spotted the swimming pool and had a one track mind about getting in it. I cannot describe to you Katy's fearlessness in the pool. Over the course of the weekend, she spent hours and hours and hours in the water, all too deep for her to touch, just treading water with her floaties. Her cousins taught her to jump from the side (forward and back), and it looks like she may take after them in her fish-like tendancies. It's also interesting to note that her fearlessness in the pool is directly correlated to my FEAR while she's in the pool. This is the worst part: if I lost a year of my life for every time she did this during the trip, I'd be a very old woman:






video




But overall the trip was fabulous. We had a great time with Katy's grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and family friends who visited as well. The car trip was fine, but we just had to stop SO OFTEN. On the return trip, which should take 4.5 hours, we stopped 3 times. How will we ever make the 12 hour drive to the beach in September? But the surprising part was the sleep. Both Katy and David slept in the room with us at various points of the trip, and as long as Katy had a visual barrier between her and us, she slept completely normally, even through David crying in the middle of the night (shocked me). She missed her nap 3 of the 5 days because she refuses to sleep in the car no matter what, but I won't complain since she sleeps so well the rest of the time. And David followed his normal sleep routine as well (or at least what he's been doing the past couple of weeks). I think he's at the age where he doesn't notice as much if he's in a different place, so that really helped.




I'll let the pictures speak for themselves for the rest of the trip. It really was a nice time, and we hope to get everyone together there every summer.





Friday, August 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mel!!


Today my sister is 23, and we aren't able to be with her to celebrate because of coordinating travel plans with other family members. But I wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday and say how much I appreciate having her in our lives. She is a wonderful sister, loving aunt, and one of my closest friends. I love this picture from a random afternoon at our house recently. You can tell that David already knows how lucky he is to have Melanie as an aunt!!
Also, check out some retro photos on my mom's blog.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Leeeee-ving...in a mini-van...

So tomorrow we're leaving for a little excursion to Kentucky to visit with Brian's family. We're really looking forward to some time with them, including Katy's cousins who recently moved far away. We'll also get to SWIM, which is Katy's idea of heaven. We haven't been down there in a while due to a series of circumstances (one of which is named David), so we're looking forward to it. I'm not very worried about the car trip this time, because David's been doing better with that, but we'll get a couple of opportunities to see how we handle the 4 of us sleeping in one room. I've played out a number of scenarios in my head trying to predict how this is going to go, so we'll see which one plays out. It'll be good practice, though, because we've got some other trips coming up where we'll need to be able to do this. Hopefully David won't undo the progress we've made in the area of sleep in the last few weeks. We're really in a much MUCH better place than we were when I wrote this.

So I might be able to update the blog while I'm gone, but I thought I'd leave you with a couple of pics.

Last week we were playing at a local park that had a large wooden castle-like structure in which I couldn't always maintain a visual on Katy. At one point she came out whining and holding her bum like she had fallen, so I asked, "are you ok?", looked for blood, and sent her on her way. It wasn't until later that I discovered this:



I'm not sure how well you can see this, but there's about a 6 inch tear down the back of her pants. I'm assuming a protruding screw was to blame, but I will never know. When I told Brian, he asked, "Did you check to make sure there isn't a tear in her bottom?" Thank goodness for thick diapers.


And now...for those of you who know my husband, I present Mini-Brian:



Finally, the other day I was noticing Katy's shaggy dog look and announced that I was going to trim her bangs. Brian warned me: "The last time you did that, you hated it and it drove you crazy until you took her to the salon to fix it." But I decided to give it One More Try. Silly me. Forty-eight hours later I was at the kiddie salon begging them to clean it up. I'm serious this time: I'm NOT going to try to cut her hair again. So here's Katy's new 'do:



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Blogging question: Ever since I changed the name of this blog, it still shows up in Google Reader and in my IE Favorites pull-down as "Katydid." Anyone know what I need to do to change this?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Peer Pressure

It's come up in a few conversations recently how much I love this blogging stuff. I really do. I remember when I first heard the word, "blog," I asked "What's that?" and the person said, "It's where someone types their journal online so everyone can read it." I believe my response was something along the lines of, "That's stupid. Why would anyone want to read someone else's journal?" How naive of me.

Then I had a couple of friends give me the addresses of their blogs, and I looked at them a couple of times, was quite intrigued, started looking at links to other blogs from their blogs, and pretty soon I was checking blogs on a daily basis. At that time I had just had my first baby and I thought, "hmm...it might be kind of fun to start a blog so I can stop filling my family's inboxes with digital photos." So I started one of my own, and how do I love blogging? Oh, let me count the ways!!

I love that when I have a question or a funny story, I can share it instantly with a bunch of people (and get feedback!). I love that I have a sounding board for whatever ails me or to share words of appreciation for the blessings that I don't deserve. I love that I have a record of the things that my family has done for almost the past 2 years, and that I can look back to the blog as a reference point for when certain milestones were achieved or goals were set.

And besides all the enjoyment I get out of my own blog, I love, love, LOVE reading everyone else's! It's so great to be able to keep up with people that I know I wouldn't otherwise. And I have learned a ton from reading others' stories of what has worked and what hasn't. What they've tried, how they go about things, and how they're feeling about it. And some days, when I'm home with the kids and feeling a bit lonely, thank goodness for my blogs! I've got my laptop open and my reader up and I'm just waiting for new posts. One pops up and BAM - someone else is out there! I can read what they're thinking right now! And I can respond! Like I'm having a conversation! The other day, Brian came home from work and I told him, "It's been a quiet afternoon. No one has posted on their blogs." Isn't that weird? Yeah, maybe that's taking it a bit too far.

But I'm always amazed at how many people tell me that they are reading this thing. I always think, "Really? You DO?" It just makes me want to write more. But more than that...I want to READ more. So...I'm putting the pressure on. I believe I've influenced a handful of people to start blogs of their own (Hi, Mom! Hi, Jen! Hi, Beth!). And it's my personal goal to get everyone I know to start a blog. I've even mentioned it to several of you (you know who you are.) So - what are you waiting for? You'll love it! I'll love it! Come on in, the water's great!